Herald WPL Round 1 Review

March 14th, 2016

By Renee Valentine


Merewether 1 (Sarah Halvorsen) defeated by Adamstown 2 (Clare Cummings, Jasmin Courtenay pen) at Myamblah Oval. Half-time: 0-0.

Wallsend 2 (Jenna Kingsley 2) defeated South Wallsend 1 (Maddy Searl) at The Gardens. Half-time: Wallsend led 2-0.

Thornton 3 (Naomi Abbott 3) defeated Mid North Coast 1 (Maddison Stockham) at Taree Zone Fields. Half-time: 0-0.

Warners Bay had the bye.

Points table: Thornton 3, Adamstown 3, Wallsend 3, Merewether 0, South Wallsend 0, Mid North Coast 0, Warners Bay 0.

Leading scorers: Naomi Abbott 3, Jenna Kingsley 2, Sarah Halvorsen 1, Jasmin Courtenay 1, Maddison Stockham 1.

Round Summary

Merewether made a poor start to their defence of the Herald Women’s Premier League championship with a 2-1 loss to Adamstown yesterday while Naomi Abbott scored a hat-trick in Thornton’s 3-1 win over Mid North Coast and W-league striker Jenna Kingsley starred in Wallsend’s 2-1 victory over South Wallsend.

Match-by-match review

Merewether 1 (Sarah Halvorsen) defeated by Adamstown 2 (Clare Cummings, Jasmin Courtenay pen) at Myamblah Oval. Half-time: 0-0.

Merewether United coach Cassie Koppen described the defending champions’ 2-1 loss to Adamstown in the opening round of the Herald Women’s Premier League at Myamblah Oval yesterday as “our worst performance of the past 12 months”.

United were virtually untouched on their way to becoming the first team in the history of the league to capture the minor premiership-championship double.

But yesterday they looked a shadow of that side as they produced an at times shaky performance before going down to fierce rivals Adamstown.

Both sides had shots on goal in the first half but the match remained scoreless at the break.

Merewether have lost last year’s leading scorer Sophie Jones and Shannon Day to Wallsend this season and coach Cassie Koppen tinkered with the line-up to accommodate the losses.

Usual playmaker Jane McDonald started at the back and captain Lori Depczynski up front. Last year Depczynski formed a near impregnable defensive pairing with Jamee Ellis and was returned to her usual centre-back position at the break allowing McDonald to push back into the middle of the park into a more familiar creative role.

New recruits Tayla Braithwaite and Nicki Jones had impact for Merewether but goalkeeper Imogene Tomasone was the standout for the hosts yesterday.

The match remained scoreless at the break but United broke the deadlock nine minutes into the second half when Sarah Halvorsen beat Adamstown shot-stopper Natalie Wiseman in a one-on-one situation and scored across the face of goal.

The ball came from the left of the field through midfielder Leticia Quinlan, who took a touch before releasing Halvorsen into space on the right.

Olivia Trinka had a shot from directly in front of goal denied by Tomasone soon after before the visitors found an equaliser in the 66th minute when Clare Cummings climbed high to head home from a Rhali Dobson corner.

Cummings started at the back yesterday but was pushed further up the pitch for the second half and had plenty of impact.

Her goal swung the momentum of the game in Adamstown’s favour and Rosebud finished the stronger of the two sides, launching several attacking raids on the United goal.

Tomasone stood strong and repelled a number of point-blank shots but was unable to stop impressive Adamstown recruit Jasmin Courtenay when she converted from the spot after being brought down by Depczynski in the box with one minute of regulation time left.

Courtenay confidently smashed the ball high and wide into the net.

“That was the first time we have gone from being in a winning position to end up losing a game, so that was disappointing,” Koppen lamented.

“It was probably our worst game in the past 12 months. Having said that, we did create a lot of chances.

“But we have a target on our backs this year and I think we just didn’t handle the pressure.”

Adamstown coach Ben Herron was encouraged by the efforts of his side, which showed many promising signs for the season.

“We are still a work in progress,” Herron said. “Goalkeeper Bec Miller is still out through injury, Rhali Dobson is coming back from an ankle injury and we had a couple of players come into the squad late.

“But I can’t fault their effort today. It was a good start to the season, getting over the defending minor and major premiers, and we will try to build momentum from that for the rest of the season.”


Wallsend 2 (Jenna Kingsley 2) defeated South Wallsend 1 (Maddy Searl) at The Gardens. Half-time: Wallsend led 2-0.

Wallsend coach Marc Hingston was happy with his new-look side’s first hit-out of the season but indicated they needed to play well for the full game if they were going to be pushing finals spots this year.

The team is one of the strongest on paper in the league, which is shaping as the most competitive since the league’s inception, and produced a strong first-half showing yesterday.

Jets striker Jenna Kingsley showed her class to score two goals in a devastating five-minute period heading towards the break but the hosts switched off in the second period and South Wallsend hit back through former former W-league player Maddy Searl.

“In the first half we played some really good football and it is only going to get better,” Hingston said.

“We’ll take a lot of confidence out of the first half, we just need to be putting in for the full 90 minutes.”

South Wallsend player-coach Elyce Bates said her side were slow to get going and struggled to combat Wallsend’s rolling attacking play in the first half.

Bates changed the formation at half-time and said her players responded well.

“We started with a 4-5-1 but went back to a 4-4-2 and things changed dramatically,” Bates said.

“They have got some girls who played together in the Emerging Jets for years and that showed in their attack.

“It was pretty intense and we were on the back foot in that first half but we managed to get a bit of possession and dominated the second half.

“I was pretty happy and we’re only going to get better.”


Thornton 3 (Naomi Abbott 3) defeated Mid North Coast 1 (Maddison Stockham) at Taree Zone Fields. Half-time: 0-0.

Naomi Abbott bagged a hat-trick as Thornton overpowered Mid North Coast in sweltering conditions in Taree yesterday which forced the game to be played in quarters.

Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker, who lost several key players for this season and will rely on youth and enthusiasm to get through, acknowledged Abbott was a class above yesterday.

“Naomi was definitely the big difference between the two sides today,” Baker said.

“Physicality is probably going to kill us this season. I have said to the girls that we have got to be fitter, faster and play the ball quicker than everyone else in the competition if we are going to be competitive.”

He praised the efforts of Jannah Gillett, who marked Abbott yesterday, as well as Billie Hughes and said new recruit Caitlin Fisher looked promising.

Abbott made the most of a poor back-pass early in the second half to put Thornton 1-0 up then added another goal not long later when she rolled the Mid North Coast defence and fired the ball into the back of the net.

Maddison Stockham put Mid North Coast back in the game with a goal heading to the third break but Abbott put the game to bed by completing her hat-trick in the final quarter with a well-taken free kick from the edge of the 18-yard box.

Thornton coach Alan Primmer was happy to take the three points from their first outing.

“We showed some good signs in trials and the win was a good start for the girls,” Primmer said.

“We were definitely very good for 60-80 minutes. There was a little period where we were 2-0 up and we allowed them into the game a bit. Their goal was a little wake-up call that we need to be staying switched on.”


Round 2 Fixtures – Sunday (March 20) 2.15pm

 Adamstown v Wallsend at Arthur Edden Oval

Mid North Coast v South Wallsend at Fairmont Gardens

Merewether v Warners Bay at Myamblah Oval

Thornton have the bye




Related Topics:
Premier Competitions WPL

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